“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

18509628How did I get the book?
Netgalley, thank you Sourcebooks

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: If Life Was Like a Song…
Nina Simmons’ song would be “You Can’t Always Eat What You Want.” (Peanut allergies, ugh). But that’s okay, because as her best friend Brianna always said, “We’re All in This Together.”

Until the first day of the seventh grade, when Brianna dumps her to be BFFs with the popular new girl. Left all alone, Nina is forced to socialize with “her own kind”–banished to the peanut-free table with the other allergy outcasts. As a joke, she tells her new pals they should form a rock band called EpiPens. (Get it?) Apparently, allergy sufferers don’t understand sarcasm, because the next thing Nina knows she’s the lead drummer.

Now Nina has to decide: adopt a picture-perfect pop personality to fit in with Bri and her new BFF or embrace her inner rocker and the spotlight. Well..

Call Me a Rock Star, Maybe.

200words (or less) review: My Year of Epic Rock was supposed to be my escape for a couple of hours fun-time read. Don’t get me wrong it completely fulfilled that part of the deal but I was surprised but how much I enjoyed this book.

After the summer holiday’s Nina’s best friend has replaced her with the allergy-free new(ish) girl. I had a ‘friend’ (term applied loosely) like that when I was growing up so I completely understood Nina. It really hurts, particularly because you never get an explanation.

What I liked about Andrea Pyros writing is that all the characters; Nina, her friends, Nina’s family come across so believable. The book is narrated by Nina but you still get everyone’s personality and there are some really good ones. I was particularly fond of Nina’s mother.

I liked growth in Nina’s character from the beginning of the book. It’s hard to admit your mistakes and learn from them.

My Year of Epic Rock is a good book about friendship, growing up and believing in yourself.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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Come back on the 22 September 2014 for an
Interview with Andrea Pyros & Giveaway!

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Stacking the Shelves #76

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s a chance to show what books you’ve added to your library in the past 7 days. These can be bought books, borrowed, review copies, any which way they come to you.

For review

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Hidden Princess (Hidden Among Us #2) by Katy Moran
Thank you Walker Books

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Killing Sound by Paul Southern (already read)
Thank you Chicken House

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Out There: An Anthology of Scottish LGBT writing by Zoë Strachan
Thank you Freight Books

From StorytellersInc

Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton
The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt
Bone Jack by Sara Crowe
Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little (bookclub, read)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

What treasures have you found? :)

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Darkness_Hidden_revealHow did I get the book? Book-swapped with Debbie from SnugglingontheSofa
(I ♥ you so much for this!)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Previously reviewed:
The Night Itself
Shadows on the Moon
Frostfire
The Swan Kingdom

Synopsis: In the electrifying second volume of Zoë Marriott’s The Name of the Blade Trilogy, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata against all odds, and brought Jack’s sister home alive.

But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire.

As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realises that this time there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive… and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

A different kind of review: It’s another Zoë Marriott book and I’m going to be looking up all the different words to say amazing, breath-taking, stunning, beautiful, etc. Well – yes. Sorta. Maybe. Here’s the thing as much as I want to just go ahead and gush for the next 500+ words about how much I love this story I’m aware that this is what I do for all of Zoë Marriott books.

And let me just say that she completely deserves all that praise because she is an amazing writer but I thought this time I’d explain it a bit better.

So I’ve picked a tiny section from Hidden Darkness to show why I love Zoë Marriott’s writing so much:

“The ceiling was painted the same vivid blue-green as the outside. Some really talented artist had mixed the darker shade with subtle swirls of silver and pale greens and blues, until you feel like you’re looking up into a deep ocean. The walls were hidden behind fitted, crammed-full bookshelves of sand-coloured wood that climbed about seven feet, and the space between the tops of the shelves and the ceiling was filled with … fish tanks.”

Don’t you just want to be there? I remember reading that bit and thinking how magical that place sounded but also feeling like I was getting the panoramic tour with Mio as she took a look around.

I think that’s one of the key reasons I love Zoë’s books. I always feel like I’m there – I don’t just read about it. I experience it.

Once you add the amazing stories, the world-building and characters you couldn’t give me a better treasure. Which is why it might sound odd that Hidden Darkness was in my home for nearly 2 months before I finally had the guts to read it… because what if it wasn’t as good as the first book.

Fear not. Of course it was, actually maybe even a little better. ;)

I think I’m going to have to take a couple of days off to deal with reading the final book in The Name of the Blade Trilogy because my emotions still haven’t quite recovered reading Hidden Darkness and probably won’t for a while yet.

Recommend it?

Sunshine Star

 

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22955520How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Contemporary

Previously reviewed:
Zelah Green

Synopsis: My name is Amelie Day and I live to bake. Cupcakes, biscuits, bread, tarts and muffins – flour power! Now I’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win the Teen Baker of the Year award. But it looks like my stupid cystic fibrosis might get in the way. Will my mum let me go to London to compete?

200words (or less) review: This book arrived on my doorstep complete with bookmarks, recipe cards (which look yummy) and an adorable tea towel, thank you Curious Fox. Don’t worry you’re not missing out – all the recipes are in the book as well. :)

The Baking Life of Amelie Day is quite a short book, I managed to read in a few hours. However neither the story or characters feel incomplete. I was impressed by how alive Amelie was just a few pages into the book.

I really liked Amelie’s voice, she engages with the reader, is funny, determined and sincere. You know about Amelie’s cystic fibrosis from the book blurb but Amelie doesn’t go into details until a few chapters in. It’s part of the story but not the story, I thought Vanessa Curtis balanced this really well.

Charming, sweet and honest I recommend The Baking Life of Amelie Day, ideally with cupcakes and tea. (I couldn’t resist…)

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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Waiting on Wednesday #39

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. “Waiting on Wednesday” spotlights upcoming releases that you can’t wait to read.

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Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines by Katy Cannon

Grace: This was supposed to be Grace’s
starring year, until she opened the door to
a family secret that changed everything.
Now she’s stuck making costumes in
Sewing Club and watching someone else
play the lead role – unless she can find a
way to win it back.

Connor: Far from home and exiled to
a new school, all Connor wants is to keep
a low profile and get through the year. But
agreeing to help his step-dad out with the
school play means he’s soon caught up in
Grace’s schemes.

Grace had a plan for this year – and it
didn’t involve learning to sew. But being
out of the spotlight isn’t the disaster she
imagined, even if Connor is convinced
she’s still a diva extraordinaire. Can Grace
prove she’s really changed and save the
play from the sidelines, even though her
family is coming apart at the seams?

I really enjoyed Love, Lies and Lemon Pies so I’m very excited about this. :)

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UntitledHow did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Contemporary

Previously reviewed:
Weirdos vs Quimboids

Synopsis: Funnier, weirder, ruder – Blossom is back. After performing the brilliant and unlikely feat of getting sexy rock god Josh Raven to perform at the school disco, Blossom Uxley-Michaels has decided that being a Weirdo is actually kind of awesome. Things get more exciting when Blossom’s band, Camel Toe, enter the Battle of the Bands.

But Camel Toe find they have competition from an unlikely source. Then Blossom meets Vince, sexy mancake and lead singer of rival band Bumskulls. And supposedly loved-up Petrina has been spotted dribbling at the bass player… Amidst a churning whirlpool of love, war and music, can the Weirdos keep their quest for musical domination on track or will it all go norks up?

200words (or less) review: This book needs to come with the following: WARNING! Your sides will hurt from laughing!
(If you do end up reading this in public – it’s your own fault, just so you know.)

Blossom is back and just as brilliant as before, actually probably even better. I mean I adored the first book but I don’t remember me trying to *high five* Weirdos vs Quimboids (p. 216-217 – it’ll make sense) which I don’t recommend attempting btw. You can’t *high five* books no matter how much you want to. ;)

Between her free spirited parents and their sex life, predictive texts (so funny!), mancakes and the relationship troubles of her best friends Blossom has a lot to juggle. Yes Natasha Desborough has written a hilariously funny book but it wouldn’t be half so wonderful if her characters weren’t the brilliant gems they are.

The minute I finished the book I wanted the next one (which you know next to never happens) – please tell me there will be another book?! *puppy eyes*

Weirdos vs Bumskulls is exactly that the tag line says: Funnier, weirder, ruder. = AWESOME!

Recommend it?

Sunshine Star

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20911885How did I get the book?
I bought it.

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: What do you do when everybody says you’re someone you’re not?
Alex wants change. Massive change. More radical than you could imagine.
Her mother is not happy, in fact she’s imploding. Her dad walked out.
Alex has turned vegetarian, ditched one school, enrolled in another, thrown out her clothes. And created a new identity. An identity that changes her world.
And Alex—the other Alex—has a lot to say about it.

Alex As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience—of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong. Alex is a strong, vulnerable, confident, shy and determined character, one you will never forget.

200words (or less) review: I read Alex As Well in one evening, the book is quite short at just over 200 pages but even if it had been double that I wouldn’t have put it down until I finished it.

Alex was born intersex, her parents made the decision to raise her as male but Alex feels she is a girl. Five days ago she stopped taking the medication and told her parents this. Her father walked out and her mother, well her mother has a ‘different’ way of handling things.

Most of the book is narrated to by Alex, in such a way that’s you feel she’s right there next to you talking. I loved that. It made Alex’s character so much more alive. There are also online posts by Alex’s mother. I thought the two perspectives were really interesting but they did wind me up. Alex isn’t perfect, she has bratty moments, but if there ever was a time I wish I could have walked into a book and confronted another character then Alex’s mother would have been it.

Alex As Well is a great story about figuring out who you are and standing up for the right to be that person.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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